Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain Stiffs His "Friends"

John McCain finally got the town hall format he's been whining about for months. He wanted many more. The message.... "I'm better than Obama at connecting with the voters.... let me at them."

He should thank his lucky stars that Barack Obama didn't take him up on that tactic. As Harold Meyerson said in his op-ed today about the debate, "In the town halls staged by his campaign, where the crowds are composed almost entirely of his supporters, McCain has been relaxed, and has been on the stage by himself. In Nashville tonight, neither of those particulars applied. Instead, as he and Barack Obama wandered around the stage, McCain overwhelmingly conveyed the impression -- not to put too fine a point on it -- that he’s old." (WaPo)

And has trouble expressing himself. At time speaking in loud whispers intended to convey..... danger, urgency.... he nevertheless appeared stiff and uncomfortable, explaining himself in incomplete sentences and thoughts with jokes that fell flat like his "hair transplant" jab obviously aimed at Joe Biden, Obama's VP choice.

In contrast, Obama looked and sounded presidential, in command of the subjects, speaking in complete sentences while precisely explaining his policies, and when allowed to, correcting the numerous McCain misstatements about his policies and record that are the stuff of McCain talking points.

As the New York Times lamented today in "Politics of Attack".... "It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.

"They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia....

"Despite the occasional slip (referring to Mr. Obama’s 'cronies' and calling him 'that one'), Mr. McCain tried to take a higher road in Tuesday night’s presidential debate. It was hard to keep track of the number of times he referred to his audience as 'my friends.'

Therein.... in the "my friends" context.... lies the fatal flaw at the heart of McCain's campaign. We aren't his friends. That's just a lame senatorial-speak device used to gain time to think, and to make the listener feel he cares and connects with their problems. Talking the talk.

But McCain doesn't walk the walk..... he associates with, and employs in pivotal campaign and staff positions, the very lobbyists who crusaded for less government regulation, and tax cuts for big oil and big business.... his real friends are corporate CEOs.

Nothing could have highlighted that shallow "my friends" debating-device more clearly than watching what happened after the debate. Did McCain stay around to spend time with his "friends." No. After a couple of cursory handshakes with the town hall participants, he and glacial Cindy departed to rejoin his adoring coterie.

In contrast, Obama and Michelle stayed to talk with, and listen to, the participants. To answer questions, sign autographs and hang out.... treating them as friends.

This is one reason why a long campaign season has it's useful, even redeeming, aspects. It's hard for a candidate to keep up a false front with so much exposure in so many formats. So how is McCain holding up?.... bomb, bomb, bomb.

November 4.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At a Pennsylvania event the day following the second Obama/McCain debate, McCain and his Playmate Palin played to their followers. It was reminiscent of a Bob Hope USO entertainment tour for our troops during the Viet Nam war that featured a curvaceous and rhythmic Joey Heatherton. Only, Bob Hope was far more intellectual and interesting than McCain and his mindless Heatherton Playmate was far more titillating than the mindless Palin. But the intent was identical.